Perfectionism may indicate risk of OCD in young children


Children who tend to be perfectionists and show excessive self-control from a young age are two times more likely than their peers to develop obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) by the time they reach their teens, a study has found.
MRI scans taken as part of the research, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, showed that the perfectionists often had smaller volumes of a brain structure previously linked to OCD.”Having a lot of self-control and striving for perfection often are considered by parents and society as good because they can eliminate mistakes, but excessive self-control and perfectionism raise a red flag,” said Kirsten E Gilbert, from the Washington University in the US.
“In adolescents and adults, these characteristics are associated with OCD and other disorders, such as anorexia and social anxiety. We’ve now been able to link this to OCD risk in children,” said Gilbert.
OCD is a chronic mental health disorder that often involves uncontrollable, recurring thoughts, or obsessions – such as a fear of germs or a need to have things in perfect order – and behaviours that a person feels the urge to repeat over and over – such as hand-washing, compulsive counting or repeatedly checking on whether doors are locked.It is important to identify the disorder as early as possible because the condition often is chronic and recurs throughout life.
If very young children at risk can be identified, it may be possible to intervene earlier to prevent or at least lessen the intensity of obsessions and compulsions linked to OCD.
The researchers enrolled 292 children ages 4 and 5. Over the next 12 years, 35 kids went on to develop OCD.Among children the researchers determined were exercising excessive self-control and perfectionism, an OCD diagnosis was twice as likely as among those who did not care as much about performing a task absolutely correctly.


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